Build Your Resilience: Overcome a Crisis, Foster Personal Growth and Improve Your Health!
Have you ever heard of the word “resilience?” It is defined by psychologists as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. In layman’s terms, resilience is the skill of protecting yourself by noticing your thoughts in response to your environment, unhooking from the non-constructive thoughts and rebalancing quickly. Resilience is very important, especially in challenging times like the present, and in the long term. Read on for effective strategies to nurture and train this personal skill!
Calm and Clear Your Mind
Focus on calming and clearing your mind: When you do this, you can pay attention to what is really going on around you and what is coming up within you; observe and manage your thoughts; catch them when they start to run away toward end-of-the-world scenarios; and hold your focus on what you choose versus what pulls at you with each sound of a breaking-news notification. Doing this immediately helps keep your mind from wandering and getting hooked, and it prevents the pits of stress and worry that can capture us. Continuing to practice unhooking and focusing your mind builds the muscle of resilience that will serve you repeatedly. And when you practice bringing yourself back to the present moment, you deepen your capacity to cope and survive all sorts of crises.
Build Your Connections
Prioritize your relationships: Connect with empathetic and understanding people, which can remind you that you’re not alone amidst challenges. Focus on finding trustworthy and compassionate individuals who validate your feelings; this will support the skill of resilience. It’s also important to accept help and support from those who care about you. Try to prioritize genuinely connecting with people who care about you, whether you go on a weekly date night with your spouse or plan a recurring lunch date with a friend. Join a group: Research groups in your area that could offer you support and a sense of purpose or joy when you need it. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based communities or other local organizations, along with prioritizing one-on-one relationships, provides social support and can help you reclaim hope.
Nurture Your Wellness
Practice self-care: You can do this by eating well, getting ample rest, staying hydrated and exercising regularly, which can all strengthen your body to adapt to stress and reduce the toll of emotions like anxiety or depression. Meet your frustrations with reflection versus reaction: Think it over (from all perspectives) before getting stuck on a reaction. In doing so, you may realize that you may have been able to find clearer answers about how best to move forward, both personally and as a leader. Practice mindfulness: This could mean journaling and doing yoga or other spiritual practices like meditation or prayer, which can help you build connections, restore hope and train you to deal with situations that require resilience. Avoid negative outlets: Focus on giving your body resources to manage stress.
Help others: This could mean volunteering or simply supporting a friend in their own time of need, which can help you foster self-worth and connect with others in addition to gaining a sense of purpose. Practice compassion: Ask yourself how you can help someone to have a better day? Your mind expands, your eyes open to who and what is really in front of you and you see possibilities for yourself and others that are full of hope and ready with opportunity. Be proactive: Foster self-discovery by asking yourself what you can do about a problem in your life, and if it seems too big to tackle, break it down into manageable pieces. Move toward your goals. Do something regularly that enables you to move toward the goals you strive to accomplish.
Embrace Healthy Thoughts
Keep things in perspective: Try to identify areas of irrational thinking, such as a tendency to assume the world is out to get you, and adopt a more balanced and realistic thinking pattern. Accept change is a part of life: Accepting circumstances that can’t be changed and the fact that certain goals or ideals may no longer be attainable can help you focus on situations you can develop. Maintain a hopeful outlook: Visualize what you want instead of worrying about what you fear. This empowers you to expect that good things will happen to you. Learn from your past: Remind yourself of who or what was helpful in previous times of distress and ask yourself what you’ve learned from those experiences. In doing so, you may discover how you can respond effectively to new difficult situations.
“Building your resilience,” American Psychological Association, apa.org, Feb. 1, 2020.
“Build Your Resilience in the Face of a Crisis,” Rasmus Hougaard , Jacqueline Carter and Moses Mohan, hbr.org, March 19, 2020.